Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Design Democracy

Well, exciting news. I've been nominated for My Deco's Design Democracy Blog Awards, and I've been asked to sum up what 'Design Democracy' means to me...

I'm not sure I understand the concept, but I'm defining it as having the choice to decorate our homes in any way we like, whether they conform to notions of style or not. I'm challenging myself to become less of a design snob. I can't quite bring myself to paper my flat with Cole and Sons Woods wallpaper, even if it's aesthetically one of my favourite designs, just because it's everywhere, and everyone already has it. Yet I've never come across the Woods wallpaper in a friend's house so far, nor would the majority recognise it if they saw it in mine (not everyone reads blogs and reads Living Etc, you know.) And every time I go to Ikea I have to concede that the Poang (especially with the sheepskin cover, and in the rocking chair version) is actually the most comfortable chair I have ever sat in, but I just can't bring myself to have something so generic in my flat. I'm working on my attitude, and I need to respect the choices of friends who buy cheaper copies of expensive design classics (something I dislike), when their salary would never justify the original. It doesn't really matter...

We can all become overwhelmed with the inspiring images we see online, but not all of us can aspire to or afford a magazine-shoot worthy home. I'd love to hear your thoughts - what are your choices? Do you enjoy looking at inspiring interiors, but are content to live with old tatty furniture? Do you stick to your principles of only buying secondhand, or are you happy to have a house full of Ikea? Have you made any design decisions which you know a magazine editor would disapprove of, but you don't care...for me, I like to buy vintage furniture and support small designers (the main theme of this blog) but it will be a long time before I get rid of my cheap beach-coloured Argos bed (the most comfortable bed ever.) So, those are my choices.

Voting will begin on 1st August - you can vote here.

Photo via Desire to Inspire.


Carole said...

Good luck with the award Lynne!

All the best.


Vanessa said...

Congratulations! I think your blog is a wonderfully intimate world of inspiration.

van said...

Design democracy to me means opening yourself up to what you truly love, regardless of trends. You are the one who has to live with it. And for this reason, functionality is very important. For me, the things I truly love serve a purpose or I are things that I can interact with in some way.
I am a collector of everything precious and everything can be precious to me, but eventually carrying these things around and dusting old knickknacks becomes a burden.
It is important that I factor in "real life" to make me happiest with my design decisions and this is where I think IKEA would like to be situated. There is space for the visually inclined there. Maybe I say this because I have a few IKEA items, but I have seen IKEA items in many homes and no two are the same. Maybe IKEA is like tofu in that it takes on the flavour of what it's cooked with.
There are 4 things I look for when I buy something new for my home. If I love it, it's a good price (this varies depending on how much I love it), it is functional, and I can make it my own it is worth buying. True, it can be insta-design and I do believe that smaller designers are more precious, but IKEA is great for many because it's economical, relatively well designed, and generally functional. They have factored in the average person's needs. To IKEA or not to IKEA brings this photo project to mind: http://www.faceyourpockets.com/index1.html.
Everyone is following the same instructions, but no two look the same.
There is the same difficult relationship between couture and off the runway fashion. But there is no reason why being pedestrian should exclude you from the design world. I believe that this is an issue being addressed by many people through many different artistic mediums.
I'm know I have a major bias or two, but design and the feeling of home should go hand in hand and should be interpreted however a person sees fit.
To me, a good design is a compilation of your beloved, collected, and used items and speaks to who you are. A person's home should match their lifestyle, their needs, their own personal aesthetic (even if that means having shag carpet and avocado appliances or if it means strict utilitarianism--which I'm sure could be adapted to suit the design crowd. I'm imagining it now.) but most importantly it should feel loved. It is through this that we find inspiration and new designs. These personalized homes might never make it into a magazine, but if they feel loved and used they will never look dated.